Corporate Secretary

Corporate Secretary Think Tank – Canada
Exclusively for GRC professionals

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Norton Rose Fulbright, Toronto, Canada

About the think tank

The think tank is an invitation-only event exclusively for GRC professionals. It is free to attend and our unique format enables participants to network extensively, discuss, debate and dissect best practices and topical issues in the corporate governance world.

What makes our format so unique?
It is far removed from the traditional conference set-up as the event consists of a series of panel sessions followed by roundtable discussions on select GRC issues. These interactive sessions are an opportunity to share experiences with and learn from other top-rated corporate governance professionals. All discussions are confidential and none of the participants’ comments are attributed. This allows attendees to talk freely and have frank, open discussions.

How do our roundtable discussions work?

 Listen as seasoned GRC professionals discuss in detail their successful practices
 Learn key take-aways that you can implement immediately in your own practice
 Network with the best of the best in GRC


  • 08:15 AM
    Breakfast and registration

  • 09:00 AM
    Welcome and opening remarks

    Ben Ashwell, editor, Corporate Secretary Magazine
    Jen Kennedy, partner, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada

  • 09:10 AM
    FIRESIDE CHAT: Adapting to the latest policy changes and market trends

    • How are changes to regulations impacting governance at public companies? An update on amendments to the Canada Business Corporations Act
    • Will a rise in short-selling lead to further regulatory protections for companies?
    • What are the trending issues that your shareholders want to know about? How can you prepare your board for the top risks going into 2020? Explore remuneration and the increase in passive investor engagement around governance, environmental and social-related issues
    • The growing trend of board and director evaluations: What are the benefits and how do you administer board evaluations?

    Ben Ashwell, editor, Corporate Secretary Magazine
    Maria Virginia Anzola, general counsel and corporate secretary, Ascendant Resources

  • 09:45 AM
    PRESENTATION: The role of technology in corporate governance: Trends and their impact

    Understand the big technological trends that are changing the nature of corporate governance, key challenges arising from digital transformation and how to best integrate technology into your activities.

    Lara Donaldson, director of regulatory and industry affairs, Computershare

  • 10:15 AM
    Refreshment break

  • 10:45 AM
    PANEL: Dealing with activist investors: How are shareholder attitudes to activist investors changing?

    • With a resurgence of shareholder activism in Canada, how are attitudes to activist campaigns changing?
    • What does that mean for the corporate secretary? How does it impact your role?
    • Defending against an activist campaign: Warning systems and prevention tactics
    • When is a good time for boards to get involved? Who else should be involved internally?
    • How do you ensure the board is prepared for a hostile takeover/proxy contest?
    • How to deal with activist investors putting items on the proxy for votes at AGMs? Briefing the lead director when meeting those who may be influential in an upcoming contest
    • Discuss the different types of activism – board related, governance related, M&A related, finance, remuneration, company strategy, etc. – and how it changes the way you prepare the board

    Ben Ashwell, editor, Corporate Secretary Magazine
    Amy Freedman, chief executive officer, Kingsdale Advisors
    Walied Soliman, global chair, Norton Rose Fulbright
    Charles Whitburn, vice president and general counsel, Points

  • 11:45 AM
    TABLE DISCUSSIONS: Dealing with activist investors

  • 12:15 PM
    Lunch and networking

  • 13:15 PM
    PRESENTATION: Biggest stories in Canada for 2019 and what it means for corporate governance

    • How did investors behave this proxy season?
    • How can corporate secretaries help boards approach human capital management and diversity?
    • How do you structure your engagement program throughout the year, and develop critical relationships between the board and the most influential shareholders?
    • What is the fundamental experience you want the reader of your proxy statement to have?
  • 13:45 PM
    PRESENTATION: The board’s role in protecting cyber security

    • Are organizations capable of responding effectively to a cyber incident?
    • What are governance teams and boards doing to protect the confidentiality and trust built up between companies and their shareholders?
    • How can you ensure that the board have effective oversight on cyber-security risks?
  • 14:15 PM
    PANEL: Building the board of the future: Aligning your board with shareholder and business needs

    • Share ways to evaluate the skills and experience your business requires for new directors and how to ensure there is diversity of perspectives on your board.
    • How can – and should – governance professionals influence board diversity and composition?
    • Having sufficient strategic oversight: What practical advice do you have when looking for independent directors?
    • What are the effective ways to ensure that committees consider shareholder value as part of their decision-making process?
    • Learn effective ways that the board and executive leadership have influenced corporate culture.
    • How can corporate secretaries communicate their board’s diversity to shareholders in an effective way?

    Ben Ashwell, editor, Corporate Secretary Magazine
    Christelle Gedeon, chief legal officer, Aphria
    Helle Bank Jorgensen, chief executive officer and founder, Competent Boards
    Jonathan Pinto, senior vice president and business head, D.F. King Canada, an AST Company

  • 15:15 PM
    Final thoughts and next steps

    Ben Ashwell, editor, Corporate Secretary Magazine

  • 15:30 PM
    Event concludes

Key Speakers

Who attends?

Each think tank participant is someone with an established track record and a strategic GRC role within his or her company. Attendees included:

Company Job Title Company Job Title
Source Energy Services Advisor, IR & Corporate Governance Norton Rose Fulbright Global Chair; Canadian Chair
Capital Power Corporation AGC & Corporate Secretary Corby Spirit and Wine Law Clerk
Teranga Gold Assistant Corporate Secretary FinanceIt Legal & Compliance Coordinator
The Co-operators AVP Governance & Corporate Secretary Greater Toronto Airports Authority Legal Counsel & Corporate Secretary
Kingsdale CEO New Gold General Counsel, EVP, CS
Competent Boards CEO & Founder Payments Canada Manager, Committee Oversight
Kingsdale CFO LAWPRO Manager, CS & Services
Aurora Cannabis CLO & Corporate Secretary Diligent Principal, Sr. Gov. Solutions Advisor
Kingsdale COO Linamar Corporation Senior Counsel
Cervus Equipment Corporate Counsel RBC Senior Counsel & Asst Secretary
Aviva Canada Corporate Secretary Scotiabank Senior Legal Counsel
Golden Star Resources Corporate Secretary First Capital Realty SVP, General Counsel & CS
Ontario Pension Board Corporate Secretary Sherritt International SVP, General Counsel & CS
RBC Counsel & Assistant Secretary EC capital SVP, General Counsel & CS
Bunge Limited Deputy General Counsel & Secretary Laurentian Bank SVP, Legal Affairs & CS
Mandalay resources Director, Corporate Affairs & Corporate Secretary Osisko Mining VP & Corporate Secretary
George Weston Director, Corporate Secretariat Sun Life VP, AGC & Corporate Secretary
Cameco Corporation Director, Legal Services, Governance & Assistant CS Shopify VP, Assistant General Counsel
Kingsdale EVP, Communication Strategy Kingsdale VP, Governance Advisory
Kingsdale EVP, Governance Advisory Clearwater Seafoods VP, Legal & Corporate Secretary
Canadian Pacific Railway General Counsel & Assistant Corporate Secretary Brookfield Asset Management VP, Legal & Regulatory
Ascendant Resources General Counsel & Corporate Secretary Northview Apartment REIT VP, Legal & Corporate Secretary
CT REIT General Counsel & Corporate Secretary Kirkland Lake Gold VP, Legal & Corporate Secretary
Pason Systems General Counsel & Corporate Secretary Capstone Mining VP, Legal, Risk & Governance and CS
Tourmaline Oil General Counsel & Corporate Secretary Kingsdale VP, Operations
Street Capital Bank of Canada General Counsel & Corporate Secretary Air Canada VP, Secretary
Corby Spirit and Wine General Counsel, Corporate Secretary & VP LAWPRO VP, Underwriting & CS

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Request invite

This event is exclusively for senior GRC professionals. To request an invitation, please fill in the form below and if you are eligible, you will receive a confirmation email with further event details. If you are a service provider and are looking for ways to get involved in the event, please contact Ian Richman on +1 212 430 6865.

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